Get Off to a Great Start in 2016

great startJanuary 6, 2016 – A fresh, clean slate is presented to each of us at the beginning of every New Year. Here are a few simple tips that may help you ease your way into a successful 2016.

1. Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Most of us make them with good intentions, but quickly we get frustrated and fall off track. Sure, resolutions are great to want to make improvements, if we keep them, but too often we reach for the sky when we should make changes at a slower pace. Statistics show that only a small percent of those who make resolutions actually keep them, anyway. Here’s proof that the reason we fail is because our brains can’t handle resolutions.

2. Create a list of goals. If you want to make any type of change in your life start by writing down each goal, and then tackle the items on the list one at a time. When you’ve completed a goal, it may give you satisfaction and drive to cross it off the list. I know that works for me. By starting small, with one goal and taking steps towards achieving it every day, you can begin to change your behavior. Soon the new behavior becomes a habit and once something is a habit, you’re more likely to stick with it. Here’s more information about the science behind building habits that stick.

3. Remember to breathe. My niece has the word “breathe” tattooed on her wrist. She got it in support of my mother who suffered with emphysema and required an oxygen generator to perform a function many of us take for granted. It’s also a reminder, she explained, that we need to slow down and remember to breathe. Wise words. I remember in a training class when the instructor asked us to pair off with the person sitting next to us and tell each other about ourselves for 30 seconds. Sounds simple, right? I’m not too fond of public speaking, but with an audience of only one, I expected to breeze through it. Unfortunately, I performed the task like a banshee, telling the dazed woman next to me everything I could think of, and at rapid fire speed. When I was finished, I was almost panting like I just ran a few miles because I had forgotten to breathe. I had plenty of time to catch my breath, though, and listen to my partner tell me all about herself in a calm and collected manner, and at a much slower pace. Remembering to breathe would have saved me from that awkward situation, and probably countless others in my life. At the very least it would have gotten me through a 30 second speech without turning blue. Taking a moment to focus on your breathing is also good to control stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and more. Learn more about the benefits of deep breathing exercises.

4. Be Curious. Did you know that being curious can lead to a happier, healthier life? Curiosity may have killed the cat, something my mother used to say to me because I was a curious kid who asked lots of questions, but curiosity should never be considered negative. Children are naturally curious and we can always learn a lot by watching them. By definition, the word curious means eager to learn more, and what is wrong with that? Curiosity can lead you to discovering new interests, hobbies and passions, and help you feel engaged in your life. Here are 10 reasons why you should be curious.

5. Don’t forget to laugh. Your ability to find humor in life’s crazy and wonderful situations is most important. Research has shown that having a sense of humor has a positive effect on a person’s health, happiness and success in life. For example, finding your sense of humor in stressful situations or difficult times usually helps you get through it much easier. Not only that, a sense of humor is an important part of brain development in young children. When a child laughs – or anyone else for that matter – blood flow increases to the brain and they feel energized and alert. Don’t you always feel better after a hearty laugh? Here’s more scientific proof that laughter truly is the best medicine.

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